15th October 2021


Rural Rap

MOST WARNINGS NOT TO ENTER THE SEA AT 14 KENT BEACHES HAVE NOW BEEN LIFTED, reports BBC Kent.  Thanet District Council had warned the public not to go into the sea or below the high water line at 14 beaches due to Southern Water releasing waste water after storm damage on 5th October.  13 of the 14 restrictions have now been lifted, but remain in place at Joss Bay.  Earlier this year Southern Water was fined a record £90m for deliberately dumping billions of litres of raw sewage into the sea.

PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDING IS AIMING TO HELP FARMERS RESTORE PEATLAND, WOODLAND AND GRASSLAND IN NATIONAL PARKS, reports Farming UK.  The UK’s national parks have announced a number of nature restoration projects that will, in turn, create new income streams for farmers and landowners who live within the UK’s 15 national parks.  Initial private sector funders for the £240m scheme include Santander UK, Gatwick Airport, Capita and the Southern Co-op.  Funding has also been secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Defra.  Pilots include the restoration of degraded peatland in the Cairngorms, as well as the conversion of hundreds of acres of arable to woodland pasture in the South Downs.

THE WOODLAND TRUST IS FOCUSING ITS EFFORTS ON A £3.6M PROGRAMME TO RESTORE ANCIENT WOODLAND TO GOOD ECOLOGICAL CONDITION, reports Farming UK.  It is to host a series of events for farmers to give them the right skills in preserving ancient woodland on their land.  Ancient woodland, which makes up just 2.5% of the land in the UK and about 20% of all woodland, is the country’s most previous woodland type.  Almost 40% of the UK’s ancient woodland has been replanted with dense non-native trees, causing deep shade across the woodland floor.  Non-native plants such as rhododendron, Himalayan balsam and snowberry are also encroaching.

WHEAT PRODUCTION IS FORECAST TO BE UP 45%, reports Farming UK.  Defra has released its first estimates of this year’s harvest, with barley forecast to be down by over 12%.  For wheat, this is above the five year average of 13.7m tonnes, but barley is below the five year average.  Final results will be published on 16 December.

JEREMY CLARKSON HAS DONE MORE FOR BRITISH FARMING THAN COUNTRYFILE, reports the Times and Telegraph, as well as the farming press.  A measure of the appreciation of the farming community came this week when he was named Farming Champion of the Year at the Farmers Weekly Awards.  James Rebanks, a high-profile hill farmer, said that Clarkson deserved credit for highlighting the plight of many people in the rural community.  The NFU said that “the show resonated with the public, brought alive the ups and downs of our industry to a huge new audience and transported British farming into the living rooms of families across the country.”  Clarkson’s Farm is now Amazon Prime Video’s highest-ever rated show, and continues to draw increasing numbers of viewers to its streaming service.

A £17.5M FUNDING POT IS AVAILABLE TO FARMERS WITH INNOVATIVE IDEAS TO BENEFIT AGRICULTURE, reports Farmers Weekly.  Defra’s new Research & Development Partnerships Fund has been ring-fenced for initiatives that increase farm productivity and environmental sustainability.  The fund aims to support “game-changer” farming and forestry ideas – ones that will solve issues that are holding the sector back.  Applications open on 20 October, and all farmers, growers and foresters with exciting ideas and the aim to develop them into projects can apply.

UK FARMLAND VALUE GROWTH HAS OUTPERFORMED THE GLOBAL FARMLAND INDEX, reports Farming UK.  During 2020, the average value growth of 1.5% was recorded for UK farmland against Savil’s “Global Farmland Index” average value growth of 0.2%.  According to Strutt & Parker, in Q3 2021, the average value of arable farmland in England rose to £9,700 an acre – the highest quarterly average since early 2018.  This rise is a reflection of historically low levels of supply in the market place, combined with firm demand from a wide range of buyers.

OVER A THIRD OF THE FARMING COMMUNITY ARE “PROBABLY OR POSSIBLY DEPRESSED,” reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  RABI’s survey of 15,000 farmers and farm workers is a “wake up call” for those who want to build a better future for the farming community.  Over half the farming community experience physical pain and discomfort which has a profound impact on mental health.  25% have mobility problems and 21% have problems carrying out their work because of health issues.  The major causes cited for stress include regulation, compliance and inspection; covid; volatile weather; the loss of subsidies; and rural crime.  More positively, 59% of respondents believe their business is sustainable over the next five years.

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

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